For a few days now Gerry Brownlee has been peddling dog whistle conspiracy theories that the Government is hiding bad news about Covid and we should all be really concerned.
On August 5, 2020 the Spinoff commented on a press release that he had provided in this way:
Gerry Brownlee has issued a press release that reads as though it might at any moment break into all-caps. “The government needs to come clean on what they know about the state of Covid-19 in New Zealand,” said the National deputy leader. “We have had three-months of no community transmission, then inexplicably, Ashley Bloomfield tells the nation today that a second wave was a likely prospect. As well, health minister Chris Hipkins tells the House in Question Time that tomorrow he will tell Kiwis the conditions in which they will be expected to wear masks in the event of the country moving back into level two.”
He added: “It doesn’t add up. Why announce this now when there are few cases? What do these guys know that they are not telling us? New Zealanders have already sacrificed a lot during this pandemic. The least they deserve is more honest, transparent treatment.”
Then according to this Herald report he repeated his claim.
As New Zealand marked 100 days without community transmission of Covid-19, National Party deputy leader Gerry Brownlee says the Government’s warning of an approaching second wave is “very puzzling”.
The Ministry of Health announced the milestone on Sunday, with no further new cases in of the deadly virus reported for the fourth consecutive day.
There remain 23 active cases of coronavirus nationally, all in managed isolation facilities, while the number of New Zealand’s confirmed cases remains at 1219.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield thanked every person who had been tested for Covid-19, saying Sunday marked a “significant milestone”.
“However, as we all know, we can’t afford to be complacent,” he said in a statement.
“We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand. Every person in the team of five million has a role to play in this.”
But Brownlee told Newstalk ZB the Government’s warning of an imminent second wave of Covid-19 in New Zealand was “puzzling”.
“People have made a big effort on this and they expect to get all the relative freedom,” he said.
“None of us are complacent about it, I believe, it is something that is going to be with the world from this point on.”
And to top things off he is questioning why the Government’s advice on masks, which has gone from neutral to positive, has changed. Overseas experience where dim witted politicians have questioned expert medical advice has not ended well.
Getting ready for a potential second wave is not puzzling. The world is awash with the disease and we will be doing extraordinarily well if we continue to keep it out. And you just have to see what has happened in Australia and South Korea and Singapore to see that the virus will come back and hurt if it is not eradicated.
We have elected to keep our borders open to returning kiwis and selected others. The only other option would be to seal the borders shut to everyone. This is not a policy decision this Government is willing to make, and not one that any Government in the world has taken.
Some of these returnees are infected. We have had a couple of scares but so far so good. But it should be remembered that there is a low chance that each infected returning Kiwi may spread the virus. This is through contamination of quarantine staff, or early or late onset of the disease, or plain bad luck. Te Punaha Matatini, a team of mathematicians and scientists, have estimated that New Zealand could expect one person over the next 18 months to be released into the community while still infectious. That may be enough to set off a second wave.
So of course the Government should be preparing for the possibility of a second wave. Brownlee reaching out to the tinfoil wearing sector of the population in an attempt to score political points is just weird.